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Open Science

6 May

Science was always going to be the industry that benefited most from media developments. Of course everyday society has benefited, with social media, multiplatform information sources and new technologies, however science is at the core of this. New media has enabled drastic improvements and leaps forward in the science front. This week’s readings have been an insightful way to view the way in which new media is contributing to society in a greater way other than Facebook.

Based on the readings, there seems to be a division going on in the world in regard to scientific publication. Open science, is the concept that has been discussed throughout this blog (more so that of the concept of an ‘open network’), however in the industry of science there are different implications of an open network, from sharing research to wandering away from the traditional form if print publication:

“Even worse, the paper-based status quo relies on strictly enforced barriers to public access that prevent the rapid dissemination of vital knowledge” (Wilbanks 2011).

This system’s strength lies partly in its convenience and familiarity: everyone knows how this works, and knows where to go to try to publish or find things or see how many papers a research has produced. Major downsides include inefficiency and  the fact that paywalls prevent more thorough distribution and availability to future scholars” (Dobbs 2012).

Although print publication is facing one of the most challenging times in its history, the argument between digital and print publication remains a strong point in the science industry; “This requires a new form of scientific inquiry, a turning of science’s lens of systematic inquiry back upon itself to achieve self-awareness, to chart its dynamic intricacies, and to anticipate its future” (Seed 2011).

Although not all new media is causing waves in the industry, in fact advancements never possible before have been happening because of this new technology/media. For eg Craig Venter and his creation of a synthetic life form, where the organism is “built” rather than evolved, creating a massive landmark not only in science but possible our future (Sample 2010).

Mammoth Cloning, enabled by expansions in science via new media and technology. Courtesy of YouTube.




30 Apr


“The war on global warming is a war on consumerism”. ‘The Coalition of the Willing’ video summarized the idea and essence of this week’s readings. Collaboration. With Web 2.0, social networking and the culture shift of the 21st century, we have been given opportunities greater than we can imagine. The video argues just this. That it is through collaboration and the privileges of today which allow us to invoke a revolution greater than that of the 60’s to help save our world from consumerism (Knife Party, Rayner and Robson 2010).

“Micropolitics, or the creation of techniques for collaboration, involve experimentation and an openness to be experimental. Micropolitics then, offers a point of departure for a new kind of politics” (Jellis, T 2009). The definition of collaboration itself and its components opens new avenues for the operation of today’s society, via networks that have previously never existed thanks to the internet.

“The nations formerly known as the third world have become a rising, roaring middle. Nascent technologies like cleantech and nanotech hint at hitherto unimagined possibilities. The “corporation” is mitotically dividing into many different kinds of commercial entities, whether social businesses, hedge funds, or “for benefit” corporations. Today, as then, the world is shedding yesterday’s skin.”  (Anon 2010)

What then happens to our world? An open source world rallies and builds up against the long known capitalist regime. Do we adapt? How do we adapt? Are we living the future now, are we in it?

Although many agree such a system of micropolitics and collaboration is ever escalating and a way of the future, not everyone agrees that it is beneficial:

Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in. But there’s a problem with this view. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption.” (Cain 2012)

There is no simple answer, but a collaborative network much like what the short film by Knife Party presents to us, gives us a simple structure, and most importantly emphasizes that we all have the tools. The first step is creating an online wiki, the second a collaborative research front and the third a catalyst (like social networking) (Knife Party, Rayner and Robson 2010). The blueprint is there, so is the knowledge, ecologies are becoming larger and easily accessible to just about anyone, anything is possible.

The ironic counterpart of the ‘Coalition of the Willings’’ video (courtesy of YouTube)



22 Apr

Transparency. A word that has been repeated throughout the readings’ for this week. What is iy, and how does it apply to this course? Well simply put it is a sense of openness, of communication and empowerment brought upon by today’s society and the collaborative nature of social media and the online world blurring boundaries.

Of course then such an aspect of transparency has accounted to a never before seen ability in government and politics, almost a Government 2.0, where ordinary citizens have been able to contribute immensely to Government discussion and policy, for eg the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement. The media event would not have been possible without social media, and its sharability aspect to a worldwide platform. The ‘UsNow’ video explains that such an ability being provided to the general public had opened up many new opportunities like making public protect events, making your own business and having your say and in fact being heard (Jaggeree).

“Imagine if, having found a function of interest, you could see which level of government performs that function, and which agency, and how to get in touch with that agency. For me, a browsable visualisation of Australian governments has greater potential value as a directory than any ‘enhanced’ australia.gov.au search service.” Catherine here in her blog, discuses the idea, or concept of Government 2.0 and the benefits of the voting system and knowledge many would game by embracing a visual and viral idea of government and what they do, their policies and breakdown of authority etc.” (Styles 2009)

Transparency in the education world, seems to be the way to go also based on the Rsa’s ‘changing education paradigms’ video, where Robinson focuses the idea that the education system, which was modeled in times of industrialization, (examples of this evident include the categorizing of kids based on ages, bells, lines etc) has not caught up with today’s times. He says that collaboration has been shown to be more effective than the standardization evident in the education system and that the idea of the ‘one correct answer’ is not the way to go. He then presents the idea if diverse thinking, that he explains to mean an ability to furrow different and many possible answers as a way of thinking. The video I think captures the clash in today’s society. The education model based on this, (let’s call it the) ‘old’ structure, is partially embracing the collaborative and transparent methods of the digital age, and not fully utilizing what many students are surrounded by as soon as they leave the classroom (games, advertisements, different TV programs, social media etc) (Robinson 2010).

Transparency…can it be really good? (tvo channel 2010)

Of course transparency is not necessarily a good thing. Going back to the concept of the Government 2.0:

“I have increasingly come to worry that there is an error at the core of this unquestioned goodness. We are not thinking critically enough about where and when transparency works, and where and when it may lead to confusion, or to worse. And I fear that the inevitable success of this movement–if pursued alone, without any sensitivity to the full complexity of the idea of perfect openness–will inspire not reform, but disgust.” (Lessig 2010)

Bob Ellis also accounts for this constant 24 hour connection with world, this transparency that is enabled though the internet and social media as making our Politian’s “sleepless” (Ellis 2010).

Indeed both sides put up an argument, however what’s next? Should we fully accept the transparent nature of the online, or do we still need to account for traditional models of thinking? Furthermore what kind of repercussions will this have on the future of Government and education?




Aside 8 Apr

The word of the week….Transversally!

In Simon Rogers’ ‘10 point Guide to Journalism and how it’s changing’ data blog, data journalism and its uses and repercussions are explained clearly and concisely. Rogers’ clearly deciphers data journalism and its use over the years, stating that it is not a new concept “Data was published in books, very expensive books where graphics are referred to as ‘figures’. Now we have spreadsheets and files formatted for computers. Which means we can make the computers ask the questions” (Rogers 2011)

The Telegraph’s ‘10 ways data is changing how we live’ online article, displays data journalism in its simplest form. The article itself is separated into easy to read categories, and the data is used to fuel the stories (or create the story), by speculating ‘what if’s’ as a result of this data “With more data becoming available about how our Government operates, it’ll inevitably be pressured to change” (Quilty-Harper 2010)

‘The Life Logging Project’ by Ben Lipkowitz is an interesting example of data extrapolation. Ben was first interested in logging a diary of past events (of the day) to initially see how much time he spent doing his housemates dishes. Eventually this notion extended and soon he was able to track how much money he spent, how much he ate, how sociable he was etc (Wolf 2010). Although the concept is very simple, most people would find this method as unusable and petty, however Lipkowitz here tapped into an important aspect of data journalism. The facts that result from everyday information can have considerable effect once given an opportunity to be entertained.

The idea links into the ‘Self tracking’ article by Jonah Lehrer which Lipkowitz countered with his experiment as he tracked his life looking into what has been done, whereas most of self tracking experimentations often involve relying on tasks with an intention to extrapolate facts or data (after a certain event) eg “The very act of speculating about a causal relationship – say, for instance, the link between a pill and the ability to concentrate – warps the data, biasing our mind in a million little ways” (Lehrer 2010)

Data journalism can be misused and interpreted, although the data itself is accurate. Documents such as Wiki Leaks have opened up avenues never before seen in journalism; it also has the potential of misuse in other environments. Data is in today’s media ever prominent as a source of news reporting, and when done the right way has the ability to expose, educate and entertain the newsreader.


Lehrer, Jonah (2010) ‘Self-Tracking’, May 3, The Frontal Cortex, <http://scienceblogs.com/cortex/2010/05/self-tracking.php>

Quilty-Harper, Conrad (2010) ’10 ways data is changing how we live’, The Telegraph, August 25, <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/7963311/10-ways-data-is-changing-how-we-live.html>

Rogers, Simon (2011) ‘Data journalism at the Guardian: what is it and how do we do it?’, The Guardian, Datablog, July 28, <http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jul/28/data-journalism>

Wolf, Gary (February 27th, 2010) ‘A Remarkable Life Logging Project by Ben Lipkowitz, Quantified Self, <http://quantifiedself.com/2010/02/a-remarkable-life-logging-proj/>

Vimeo uploaded by Kevin Kelly <http://vimeo.com/9209182>

and yet another- EMBODIED

18 Mar


I found this week’s readings to be quiet interesting. Firstly not only was I reminded of my own lack of memory retention, but also because it did educate me in this topic.

In the ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis’ reading by Stiegler (Stiegler n.d) I did find this quite ironic, yet plausible:

“A spontaneous memory support, the lithic tool is not however made to store memory : not until the late paleolithic period domnemotechniques as such appear. “

Stiegler goes on too, to further explain the history of mnemotechnology, and how the brain is not our only form of memory retention:

“Ideogrammatic writing springing up after the neolithic period leads to the alphabet – which yet today organizes the agenda of the manager, but this calendary object is henceforth an apparatus: the personal data planner; and it is no longer a mnemotechnic, but a mnemotechnology.”

He goes on to mention the TV, computer, GPS etc to be cognitive technologies where we are able to store a greater part or our memory, which he says goes on in fact to allow us to lose “an ever-greater part of our knowledge”.

The reading does indeed address the external environment as a possible memory form, not just giving our brain the exclusive rights.  In ‘Does thinking Happen in the Brain?’ by Noe (Noe 2010), the notion of the brain being a single unity in memory and emotions is again continued. I especially like the car/engine analogy that is used in comparison to how the brain conveys emotions and that the brain is not doing the work itself:

“How my car drives depends on what goes on inside its engine. Modifying the engine affects the driving behavior. Speeding up, slowing down, and such like, in turn, affect the engine. But it would be bizarre to say that the driving really happens in the engine. If my car has no wheels on it, or is up on the lift, it won’t drive, whatever happens inside the engine.”


When it comes to the brain nothing can be simple...

The other readings showed noteworthy instances and even loopholes so to say with the brain, and memory.

In Alan Kay’s video discussion on ‘Learning’ (Kay, unknown) he explores the concept of user interface design, by using an example of an elderly woman who has never played tennis (or sport for that manner) who learns in 20 minutes. He states that “Learning happens when attention is focused” and in this case interface was removed, and the focus of mentality was sustained, by merely copying actions and what came  naturally; excluding our need to think or the need to talk or comment.

‘The Mind Games – Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’ By Pamoukaghlian (Pamoukaghlian 2011) reading showed the extent that our minds can be controlled through techniques such as Electromagnetic Control (EMR), which scarily enough features to be a strong military interest over the years.

All in all the mind and the power of memory never ceases to amaze me, and this week has showed me its limitations, and its capabilities, and perhaps how to stretch my own.


–          Stiegler, Bernard (n.d.) ‘Anamnesis and Hypomnesis: Plato as the first thinker of the proletarianisation’ accessed 16/3/2012 <http://arsindustrialis.org/anamnesis-and-hypomnesis>

–          Noë, Alva (2010) ‘Does thinking happen in the brain?’, 13:7 Cosmos and Culture, accessed 16/3/2012 <http://www.npr.org/blogs/13.7/2010/12/10/131945848/does-thinking-happen-in-the-brain>

–          Kay, Alan, Learning, YouTube, accessed 17/3/2012 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50L44hEtVos>

–           Pamoukaghlian, Veronica (2011) ‘Mind Games: Science’s Attempts at Thought Control’, Brainblogger.com, December 28, accessed 16/3/2012<http://brainblogger.com/2011/12/28/mind-games-sciences-attempts-at-thought-control/>

– Picture Courtesy of Jonathan 2007 Flickr